Sprint amends tower contracts with Crown Castle to enable Network Vision plan

Sprint (NYSE:S) said it amended tower contracts with Crown Castle to pave the way for its Network Vision plan--which calls for the deployment of new multi-mode base stations designed to give the operator greater technology flexibility and enable Sprint to deploy LTE at minimal cost.

The agreement impacts more than 10,000 of Sprint's nationwide cell sites. The deal will establish uniform rates for deploying all Network Vision sites rather than negotiating tower contracts on a site-by-site basis. It also provides Sprint with the flexibility it needs to deploy next-generation technologies and control its future migration from iDEN.  Plus the deal could enable a quicker deployment of Network Vision by allowing Sprint to operate existing equipment simultaneously with the new Network Vision equipment for a period of time to ensure a smooth transition for customers, Sprint said.

Since announcing its Network Vision plan in December, Sprint said it has been working with vendors Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC), Alcatel-Lucent (NASDAQ:ALU) and Samsung to plan, test and begin site preparations. In the lab, calls have successfully been completed on 800 MHz 1x voice, 1x data and SMS, the operator said, and 1900 MHz calls on 1x voice, 1x data, SMS and EVDO have also been completed. Work has begun on thousands of sites and renegotiation of existing contracts with tower companies is an important step in launching these sites later this year, Sprint said.

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